NEW tourism secretary Wanda Teo has emphasised the need to convene the Tourism Coordinating Council (TCC) as soon as possible to address the pressing issues confronting the Philippine tourism sector.
Issues such kidnapping of foreigners, poor access roads, insufficient infrastructure, and lack of direct flights to tourist destinations have plagued the country, but the TCC had not convened for the last 18 months, acknowledged Teo at an industry reception for tourism leaders and new Department of Tourism (DoT) officials.
Traffic congestion in the Philippines are just one of the issues the TCC plans to tackle
Other issues such as traffic congestion, destruction of historical sites, the massive number of street people, and illegal tour guides and taxi services were also raised during the reception.
“We cannot sweep these issues under the rug. It is the mandate of the TCC to resolve such issues,” stressed Teo, a long-time industry player herself.
The TCC comprises officials of at least nine government agencies, headed by the DoT secretary, to ensure the smooth implementation of the government’s tourism programmes.
Teo added that Philippine National Police chief Rolando Dela Rosa has assured police visibility at tourist areas and the augmentation of Tourist Police units.
Likewise, transport secretary Arthur Tugade has also guaranteed improvements of airport facilities all over the country.
“Secretary Tugade said airport renovations are already ongoing and new routes, as well as (the increase of) direct flights to and from abroad to Manila and Clark. They are also resolving the shortage of yellow taxi cabs,” she elaborated.
Highways and public works secretary Mark Villar has also promised to improve and build more “airport-to-paradise roads” in tourist destinations around the Philippines.